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Showing posts from July, 2014

Let's make biking to work for everyone

I live in the city and generally take public transit to work.  But commuting via bicycle is always an option.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the bikes on the market aren't suitable for commuting.  They  require that you dress in "biking clothes" and take on a life style called Urban Biker.  No other form of commuting requires special garb.  It is one of the tremendous failures of every single US-based bike manufacturer:  Sales are paltry.  And so manufacturers focus on "cool fragility" and not the "useful".

Unacceptable bikes do the following:
Spray mud on your butt and backGet grease on your pantsAre too fragile to leave outdoors That's garbage, and the Europeans know it.  They have tons of city bikes, which are much like the bikes we used to have here in the states.  They are designed to help anyone of any age get around the city - to work, the grocery, or the library.

So in this article I list out what I want from a NOT FAKE Commuting Cit…

Your Privacy Quotient

We all have the expectation of privacy, right?  But how private of a person are you?

Here's how to calculate your privacy quotient!

Add up the following "points" as for each item below.  The resulting number will be used to calculate your personal Privacy Quotient:

Card Usage - Tracking your purchases

1 - Do you use store "rewards cards"?5 - Do you use a credit or debit card for most purchases?5 - Do you shop for and buy goods on-line?
Banking - Tracking your income and spending

1- Do you have direct deposit?1- Do you have a bank account?1- Do you have a mortgage or loan?
Internet - Tracking your relationships and opinions
5- Do you use an internet service provider?5- Do you use Web Mail, such as gmail?5- Do you use a social web sites such as Facebook?5- Do you use Google to search the Internet?Telephone - Tracking your location

5- Do you have and use a mobile phone?1- Do you have a landline?1- Do you have a home security system?
Transportation - Tracking your travels

1…

Privacy theft via "free" apps

I'm a privacy advocate.  And so I get very tired of the myriad of companies that try to make a buck by selling my "profile" to the highest bidder.

Many (but not all) of the "free" apps available for your smartphone are simple privacy sieves.  Their primary purpose is to provide you with a little bit of value in exchange for a huge amount of your private data.

My case in point are 3rd party smartphone email and GPS apps.  There are hundreds available, almost all for free.  They provide a little bit of value, such as "a new way to use gestures to archive your email".  But these free 3rd party apps often take all kinds of data about you, such as:

All of your emailYour basic information (your name, home address, phone number, etc)Your location at all times, via your phone's GPS capabilityYour calendarYour entire address book
Of course, the companies state that they can do this in their "privacy policy".

And within that policy they promise tha…

iPhone 6 Release Party: Friday, September 26th, 2014

There are a lot of rumors out there in terms of when the iPhone 6 will be released.

Let's just cut to the chase, as evidence points to:

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Here is the evidence:
Apple will want the iPhone 6 to be released out of the gate as boldly as possible - with iOS 8.Apple explicitly says that iOS 8 will not be available until Fall 2014.Apple will likely want to make the iPhone 6 readily available to all customers by the Christmas Shopping Season - mid-November.  They'd want to eliminate any waiting lists by then.Recent prior releases of iPhones have been between September 20th and October 15th. Therefore, I predict that Apple will release the iPhone 6 sometime very near early fall.  This year fall begins on Tuesday, September 23th, 2014.

But wait, there's more!  Over the past few years Apple has put their device on sale starting on a Friday.

So given that additional fact, I refine my prediction to include only the following dates:
Friday, September 19thFriday, …

My iPhone is being remotely controlled by a hacker! (and how to fix it)

Who is remotely controlling my iPhone???

This is a personal story that scared the hell out of me.

On Monday I was awoken by my iPhone alarm telling me that it was time to get up to go to work.   I picked up the phone and looked at the day's calendar.  Ug.  I put it back down in its dock for a couple more Z's.

Seconds later, I heard it clicking.

I looked at my phone, and it looked like someone was typing on it!  Click.  Then a swipe.  And then more clicks.  One of my business apps was being operated, but NO ONE was touching my iPhone!  I was sure that a Hacker was remotely operating my iPhone, digging around for my private data!

This was shocking.  My phone stores a lot of good stuff - my email, photos, finances, passwords and all sorts of other goodies.  If someone compromised my phone they could know where I am.  They could operate the cameras, the microphones - in short, they could know almost everything about me.

It looked like the hacker didn't know what he was doing -…